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About readyforchange

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    I would identify as agnostic. I read posts on this website for about 2 years before joining. Learned a wealth of information here.

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?

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  1. Ignorance is bliss... until it isn't

    Well-written Quark. I can also relate to your last paragraph.
  2. The Dishonest Church

    What were some of the reasons that the pastors felt textual criticism provided evidence of the Bible's authenticity? Did they feel that the text was divinely inspired but written by flawed humans and thus more authentic, or that interpolations and additions/redactions/forgeries/errors in the text were also part of God's will for the Bible?
  3. These are good points that I also have asked myself countless times. If Jesus was tempted in every way as humans could be tempted and experienced everything that humans could ever experience, then I wonder why did Jesus not live as long as humanly possible? Why did he not live until age 120, the maximum age stated in Genesis 6:3? Because if Jesus died around age 33, then a major human characteristic he never experienced was old age. To anyone's knowledge, he never experienced debilitating human conditions like dementia / Alzheimer's or the loss of motor skills or bodily functions associated with aging. Granted, life expectancy was shorter back then, but he was not what would be considered as old when he died.
  4. Yes, the author of Jude seemed to view 1 Enoch as scripture. At Jude 1:14-15, he quotes a prophecy from 1 Enoch 1:9. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church actually includes Enoch in its Biblical canon.
  5. According to Paul, the Jews have had their minds hardened and do not understand the true meaning of the Hebrew scriptures. The Jews have a veil over their eyes when it comes to the scriptures and do not see that they point to Jesus. Paul states that Yahweh has given the Jews a sluggish spirit, so that their eyes do not see and their ears do not hear. See 2 Corinthians 3:12-16 and Romans 11:7-10. So one might interpret that the Jews are blind to the dual prophecies hidden in scripture that also point to Jesus. It is a rather bold claim, because Paul is saying that Jews who do not convert and believe in Jesus do not understand the very texts that Jews themselves authored. The thing with hidden meanings and dual prophecies is that they can work both ways. How do you disprove a hidden, dual prophecy in the Bible if someone claims it was revealed to him or her by God? What if there are more dual prophecies in the Bible that we do not know about? I understand that there are Muslims who interpret John 16:7-11 as Jesus speaking of sending Mohammed. In context, Jesus is referring to sending the holy spirit to the disciples. But what if there was a dual fulfillment, with a near fulfillment that is spirit (holy spirit) and a far fulfillment that is a human representative (Mohammed)? 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate[a] will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about[b] sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; 11 about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.
  6. SeaJay, here are a couple of websites describing how Jews view the Messiah. Keep in mind that a messiah meant someone anointed with oil, like the high priest and the king of Israel. King Cyrus of Persia was called a Messiah in Isaiah 45:1. The future Messiah prophesized by the Jews is simply a man with normal human parents, who traces ancestry to the David/Solomon line. The first link mentions Simon Bar Kokhba (, who for the Jews came much closer than Jesus to fulfilling the messianic scriptures.
  7. Honestly, of the two, the Jewish interpretation makes more sense to me. This is a Wikipedia article that may be helpful for further references to research the son of man. Bart Ehrman also has a blog where he posts very frequently on a wide variety of topics, and he has some posts regarding the New Testament son of man references. If I recall correctly, he makes a case that it is unclear whether Jesus saw the son of man as himself or as a different, cosmic figure. I would recommend subscribing to Ehrman's blog if you can, as it is very informative and the blog commenters include both non-believers and Christians who pose questions. I think the cost is something like $30 a year in order to read his full posts.
  8. SeaJay, it may help to compare the apologetic explanations with Jewish interpretations of scripture, to get a balanced viewpoint. Here is video from Jews for Judaism on the Jewish interpretation of the son of man in Daniel 7. The video is less than 15 minutes long - Just as an aside on the term "son of man" in general, in many Bible translations of the book of Ezekiel, Yahweh refers to Ezekiel as "son of man" several times. So the term itself is used in various contexts.
  9. Did Jesus Fail to Return?

    SeaJay, have you examined other parts of the New Testament outside of the gospels that may indicate or imply that Jesus would return soon? What are some of the apologetic answers? I remember examining apologetic responses a few years ago related to these but do not recall many that made viable sense, but I am always interested in reviewing these or seeing various ways the text is translated. I tend to prefer the NRSV for a few reasons (can explain separately if needed). In Paul's generally undisputed letters, he seems to believe that he himself would be alive when Jesus returns. In 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul is encouraging those who are concerned that their family/friends have died and Jesus has not returned. At 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, Paul includes himself ("we") when describing those who will be alive and meet Jesus in the air at his return: 15 For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died.[j] 16 For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. (NRSV) In 1 Corinthians 7, concerning marriage, Paul recommends that everyone remain as they are - either remain married or do not seek to be married, although those who choose to marry can do so. However, as part of this advice, Paul also emphasizes in 1 Corinthians 7:29-31, just how short the remaining time is: 29 I mean, brothers and sisters,[g] the appointed time has grown short; from now on, let even those who have wives be as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no possessions, 31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away. (NRSV) How is someone reading this text today to interpret Paul's guidance here? The time remaining was so short that "those who have wives should be as though they had none". Should people who are currently married today be living as though they are not married? Or should they have even married in the first place, if the time is so short? In Romans 13:11, Paul states: 11 Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers. (NRSV) Paul would have written Romans ~60 AD. If salvation was nearer to Paul and his followers now (~60 AD) than when they became believers (no earlier than right after Jesus' resurrection, ~33 AD), that is a period of about 27 years - let's round up to 30. This seems to suggest that salvation (return of Jesus) should have occurred no later than 30 years after the time Paul wrote Romans, ~90 AD.
  10. Did Jesus Fail to Return?

    I am not versed in Greek, so cannot speak to the meaning of γενεα. But one consideration here could be how someone alive at the time would have interpreted the meaning. Let's say you were alive ~30 AD and were actually in the crowd listening to Jesus describe the coming of the Son of Man, and at the end, you hear Jesus say, "Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place". What would you think he meant?
  11. Did Jesus Fail to Return?

    SeaJay, another website that may be worth a read is
  12. But is this not God taking on a form other than spirit? When God walks in the garden of Eden in Genesis 3:8, how could there not be some type of physical representation of God present there?
  13. If you can see how Muslims take 16:7-15 out of its original context in order to make it apply to Mohammed instead of to the holy spirit, do you not see how the authors of the gospels could have taken Hebrew bible passages out of their original contexts and made them apply to Messiah and to Jesus? You don't see how a Jew would read the context surrounding Isaiah 7:14 and see Matthew taking the passage completely out of context to have it be about a virgin birth for Jesus? The prophecy in the Isaiah passage is only about the son that would be born as a sign to King Ahaz. There is nothing there related to the Messiah. The double near fulfillment / far fulfillment is a midrash-like re-interpretation of the text to claim that there is another, hidden meaning present. In addition to what LogicalFallacy mentioned in post #956, the next verses, Isaiah 7:15-16, state that the child had to learn how to refuse evil and choose good, and that before the child would know enough to refuse evil and choose good, the land that the two kings that Ahaz feared would be deserted. So this means that Jesus, who as God incarnate is omniscient, had to learn how to choose good and refuse evil? Also, if the woman who gave birth to Isaiah's son was a virgin, is this not miraculous birth of a son of God, some 600 years earlier than Jesus? Was Isaiah's son a divine child who was born without sin, like Jesus? If Matthew used the Greek word for virgin in Matthew 1:23 in speaking about the woman prophesied in Isaiah 7:14, do you not claim this for the woman referenced in Isaiah and instead rely on the Hebrew word almah meaning a young woman? In reading some of your earlier responses, I'm not sure if you ever read through Citsonga's posts 537 - 539, but those are other examples of Hebrew bible passages taken out of their original contexts.
  14. But are not Adam and Eve at least your spiritual parents, in the sense that you inherited a sin nature because of their disobedience to God? Or are you saying that because God is your parent, you no longer have the capacity to commit sins?
  15. Sai Baba is another good example. He has many followers, including temples in several American cities -